Templating (Jinja2)

Ansible uses Jinja2 templating to enable dynamic expressions and access to variables and facts. You can use templating with the template module. For example, you can create a template for a configuration file, then deploy that configuration file to multiple environments and supply the correct data (IP address, hostname, version) for each environment. You can also use templating in playbooks directly, by templating task names and more. You can use all the standard filters and tests included in Jinja2. Ansible includes additional specialized filters for selecting and transforming data, tests for evaluating template expressions, and Lookup plugins for retrieving data from external sources such as files, APIs, and databases for use in templating.

All templating happens on the Ansible control node before the task is sent and executed on the target machine. This approach minimizes the package requirements on the target (jinja2 is only required on the control node). It also limits the amount of data Ansible passes to the target machine. Ansible parses templates on the control node and passes only the information needed for each task to the target machine, instead of passing all the data on the control node and parsing it on the target.


Files and data used by the template module must be utf-8 encoded.

Jinja2 Example

In this example, we want to write the server hostname to its /tmp/hostname.

Our directory looks like this:

├── hostname.yml
├── templates
    └── test.j2

Our hostname.yml:

- name: Write hostname
  hosts: all
  - name: write hostname using jinja2
       src: templates/test.j2
       dest: /tmp/hostname

Our test.j2:

My name is {{ ansible_facts['hostname'] }}

See also

Ansible playbooks

An introduction to playbooks

Playbook tips

Tips and tricks for playbooks

Jinja2 Docs

Jinja2 documentation, includes the syntax and semantics of the templates

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